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I'm reading the front of a pack of 白玉粉{しらたまこ} and have run into something I think is a name. However, searching online doesn't produce results in any dictionary I can find. From what I can see, 精撰 is usually pronounced せいせん, and 寒晒 only shows up in dictionaries as:

寒晒し{かんざらし}

n. exposure to cold

I've also seen that the 選 character in:

精選{せいせん}

n. careful selection

sometimes has alternate spellings as 撰, such as 選ぶ{えらぶ} and 撰ぶ{えらぶ}.

Is this a name or does it mean "exposed to cold and carefully selected" or "careful exposure to cold", e.g. 精撰の寒晒し?

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白玉粉 is also called [寒晒し]{かんざらし} or [寒晒粉]{かんざらしこ}

see: https://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E7%99%BD%E7%8E%89%E7%B2%89#cite_note-1 & http://www.ajiwai.com/otoko/make/siratamako.htm

You're right that 撰 is an uncommon alternate character for 選. So it is just 'carefully selected 白玉粉'.

As for the pronunciation, I imagine the intention is for it to be read せいせんかんざらし, even though it lacks the okurigana I'd say it's a similar case to words like 取引 where the reading is not ambiguous so not necessary to include.

  • This definitely seems correct, especially after seeing the entries online for 寒晒粉. Glad I was on the right track with 精選/精撰. – bcloutier Aug 14 '16 at 1:21
  • Interesting. Do you know why it is called 寒晒し in particular? – jogloran Aug 14 '16 at 5:59
  • @jogloran The second link claims that it used to be made by soaking rice during winter, and that's how it got that name. – Ciaran Aug 14 '16 at 11:12
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According to 大辞林 published by Sanseido, 寒晒粉 is a byname of 白玉粉, and it came from the unique process of producing rice flour for dumpling by "晒して - literally exposing (soaking) " the material to cold water during winter.

精選 and 精撰 are the same words to mean "carefully selected" as you understand, though the former is more popular. MS Word provides only "精選" as the choice for Kanji conversion when you input "せいせん."

The word, 精選 is ubiquitously used today for consumer goods simply to claim it's a good quality, or select product, but we don't say "精選の製品/商品." We simply say 精選白玉粉、精選卵、精選牛肉、精選食料品, 精選文房具, and so on.

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